FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2005
Arrested Trying To Sell Prescription Drugs For Cash And Car
J. Renton, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA) New Orleans Field Division, announces the arrest of Roland T. Watts,
a pharmacist of Batiste Drugs, 6621 West Bank Expressway, Marrero, Louisiana.
Members of the DEA Tactical Diversion Squad (TDS) arrested Watts after
learning that he was attempting to sell a large quantity of prescription
drugs for cash and a vehicle. Watts was charged in the 24th Judicial
District Court with illegal possession with intent to distribute a controlled
dangerous substance and illegally obtaining a legend drug.
On August 3, 2005, members of the DEA Task Force received information
that Roland Watts of Batiste Drugs had ordered a quantity of controlled
dosage units of Hydrocodone, 1,000 dosage units of Carisoprodol, and 500
dosage units of Lorazepam from a pharmaceutical distributor. Watts
ordered these drugs
after the pharmacy’s DEA registration had expired on July 31, 2005.
The pharmacy was also closed and out of business at the time Watts ordered
drugs. When the shipment of drugs was delivered to Watts at Batiste Drugs
by UPS, the
drugs were seized and Watts was placed under arrest and advised of his constitutional
Special Agent in Charge Renton, Jr. stated that, “Watts is a criminal drug
dealer who used his position as a pharmacist to violate the public trust. He
will no longer be in a position to place the citizens of metropolitan New Orleans
in harm’s way. Illegal use of prescription drugs can have lethal consequences
and DEA will continue to target those individuals that divert pharmaceutical
drugs into the illicit market. Drugs are diverted a number of ways, through pharmacy
robberies, prescription forgeries, fraudulent Internet sales, and in rare instances,
like this one, through authorized registrants.”
At the time of his arrest, Watts gave a voluntary statement to members of the
TDS stating that he had, in fact, ordered the drugs. Watts informed TDS agents
that he planned to sell the drugs on the street because the pharmacy was out
of business and that he was unemployed and needed money. Watts stated that he
had planned to trade the drugs for $5,300.00 and a vehicle. The drugs seized
at the time of Watts arrest have a street value of $65,000.00. Watts told investigators
that he had sold quantities of drugs on previous occasions in the past year.
According to invoices, on June 23, 2005, Watts ordered 1,000 dosage units of
Carisoprodol (Soma); on June 24, 2005, he ordered 6,000 dosage units of Hydrocodone;
on June 27, 2005, he ordered 2,000 dosage units of Hydrocodone; on June 29, 2005;
Watts ordered 2,500 dosage units of Hydrocodone and one pint of Hydromet Syrup
containing Hydrocodone; and on July 8, 2005, he ordered 6,000 dosage units of
Hydrocodone. Watts admitted diverting these drugs, which have a street value
of approximately $108,000.00, into the illicit trade.
This investigation was conducted by the DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad
which consists of DEA Special Agents, Diversion Investigators, and members of
the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, New Orleans Police Department, St.
Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office, Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office,
and the Kenner Police Department. Prosecution of this investigation will be conducted
by the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office.